Google Ads offers a powerful platform for promoting businesses and reaching out to potential customers. However, sometimes ads can show in locations that they are not meant to, resulting in wasted ad spend and poor campaign performance. In this article, we will discuss the common reasons why this happens and provide actionable steps for troubleshooting and resolving the issue.

Reasons Why Google Ads Show in Unintended Locations

  1. Geotargeting Settings: Geotargeting is a key feature in Google Ads that allows businesses to show ads only in specific locations. However, incorrect or incomplete settings can result in ads showing in unintended areas. For example, if a campaign is set to show ads only in California, but the targeting is set to the United States, the ads may appear in other states outside of California.
  2. ISP and Proxy Locations: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and proxy locations can sometimes cause ads to show in unintended areas. This happens because some ISPs and proxies route their traffic through servers located in other locations, which can affect the user’s IP address and location data. As a result, Google Ads may associate the user with the location of the ISP or proxy server rather than their actual location.
  3. Traffic from Mobile Apps: Mobile apps can also affect the accuracy of location data in Google Ads. Some apps may use fake location data or obscure the user’s actual location, causing ads to show in unintended areas. Additionally, some apps may not pass location data to Google Ads, resulting in inaccurate targeting.
  4. Ad Schedule and Time Zones: Ad scheduling and time zone settings can also impact the visibility of ads in unintended locations. For example, if a campaign is set to show ads from 9 AM to 5 PM PST, but the user is in a different time zone, the ads may appear outside of the intended hours.

Troubleshooting Steps to Fix Google Ads Showing in Unintended Locations

  1. Review Geotargeting Settings: The first step in troubleshooting is to review the geotargeting settings of the campaign. Check if the campaign is set to the correct locations and if there are any exclusions that may be impacting the visibility of the ads. If the settings are incorrect or incomplete, make the necessary adjustments and monitor the campaign to see if the issue is resolved.
  2. Examine ISP and Proxy Locations: Another step is to examine the ISP and proxy locations of the users who are seeing the ads. This can be done by pulling a location report in Google Ads or using a third-party IP address lookup tool. If the report reveals any unexpected locations, consider excluding those locations or adjusting the geotargeting settings accordingly.
  3. Check Traffic from Mobile Apps: If the ads are showing in unintended locations specifically from mobile apps, check for any irregularities in the mobile traffic. Look for any suspicious app traffic, unusual click-through rates, or patterns that suggest fake or borrowed location data. If there are any concerns, consider excluding mobile app traffic or limiting the targeting to specific apps.
  4. Adjust Ad Schedule and Time Zones: Lastly, check if the ad schedule and time zone settings are accurate and aligned with the user’s location. Consider adjusting the scheduling or time zone settings to match the user’s time zone or adjust the target location accordingly.


Google Ads is a complex platform that requires careful attention to detail, especially when it comes to geotargeting and location-based targeting. Ads showing in unintended locations can be a frustrating issue that can impact campaign performance and ad spend. By following these troubleshooting steps and adjusting settings, businesses can ensure that their ads are shown only to the audience they intend to reach, resulting in better campaign performance and a higher return on investment.